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Surveillance technologies in care homes: seven principles for their use

Malcolm John Fisk (Centre for Technology Enabled Health Research, Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom.)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 8 June 2015




The purpose of this paper is to consider the use of surveillance technologies in care homes and the way in which they can help protect older people. It signals an ethical way forward for their use that de-fuses the heightened rhetoric associated with concerns about the abuse. Totally, seven principles are put forward by which the use of surveillance technologies can be supported.


The paper recognises the significance of technological developments and the key part that they now play in helping people live more independently. Surveillance technologies have a part in this within care homes, but there are important ethical considerations – notably around the way in which concerns for privacy are balanced with those about people’s safety and autonomy.


The paper points to an approach that can guide the use of surveillance technologies within care homes. The seven principles put forward will be built on through further work in 2015 including care home residents, family carers, formal care providers and others. In setting out these principles the paper mediates between the positions of those who argue the merits of such technologies and those who point to some of them, notably cameras, as undermining people’s privacy and the nature of the “care relationship”.


The subject matter of the paper is important because of the attention being given to problems of abuse in care settings; and the freedom by which anyone can access technologies that can be used for surveillance. The paper is timely and carries substantial originality.



Fisk, M.J. (2015), "Surveillance technologies in care homes: seven principles for their use", Working with Older People, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 51-59.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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